Friday, February 18, 2011

A celiac's letter to friends

As I learn more about celiac disease and avoiding gluten, I try to inform those around me what's going on so they understand. A friend mentioned to me that she understands food allergies but this is completely unknown to her. That conversation led me to realize that even though I tell people I can't have gluten, they may not understand why. Below is a letter I sent to my close friends last week and I thought I would share it with all of you. I'm sure there is a better way to explain it to friends but this will have to do for now.

Dear friends,

Many of you may already know that I have finally figured out what was wrong with my stomach last fall. I have been diagnosed with Celiac disease and am waiting confirmation from a second doctor. This is good news for me because I will not have to be on medicine or under constant care of a doctor. The bad news is that I will need to avoid gluten for the rest of my life. This is similar to an allergy because my body doesn't tolerate the food but reacts very differently. If I ingest gluten there is no immediate fear of anaphylactic shock or a need to use an epi pen though there is the likelihood I will get sick to some extent. Every time gluten enters my system, my stomach is unable to handle it and it has slowly destroyed my stomach. I am eating carefully now and my stomach is healing but any time I eat gluten, even a small amount, it could reverse the healing and result in ulcers and inflamation again.

It will take me some time to adjust to this and to figure out what I can and can't eat and what restaurants I can eat at safely. Please don't be offended if I don't join you out to eat or don't eat anything you have cooked. And please don't think I don't enjoy your company or your food. I'm always up for non food related adventures and events and still want to spend time with all my friends.

How would you explain celiac disease to a friend?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Best Valentine's Present Ever

This year my fiance and I decided that we would celebrate Valentine's Day on Sunday. I told him that all I wanted was to not cook and not worry about my food being "Katie safe". We decided on Kona Grill. I figured they have sushi so I could at least have that, without soy sauce, if I couldn't find anything else that was nut, seed and gluten free. At the beginning of the meal the server asked what we were looking for and I said Gluten Free. Expecting him to have a minimal understanding I was shocked when he said, "oh that's no problem here, just about anything can be prepared gluten free. The kitchen knows what is and isn't gluten free."

After going through many options and explaining how it would be gluten free I was left with a huge problem....I actually had options and now had to pick something!  :-) For those of you on my boat, you can understand how exciting this was. See, I normally have one maybe 2 items on the menu that will work so having a dozen or so choices I felt so normal!

After deciding on sushi, because they have really yummy rolls, the server brought out soy sauce....dun dun dun......not gluten free. I was bummed because I love soy sauce and it was like he was teasing me. I wasn't going to say anything, but my fiance made a comment about soy sauce not being gluten free. The server said "oh yeah, hold on we have gluten free soy sauce."

OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We asked to see the bottle, just to be sure, but low and behold it was safe.

I also got to see a sneak peak at a new menu coming soon that shows gluten free, vegan, and vegetarian options! I can't wait to go and feel like it's no big deal to eat out. I don't expect every restaurant to have a gluten free menu, but the fact that Kona Grill understands and is willing to be flexible for those of us who have no choice is amazing. I never doubted that my food would be safe and to top it off the food was good!

I'm excited that I have a restaurant that I can go to with friends and family without it being a hassle for anyone. Thank you Kona Grill for my Valentine's Day present of safe food!

Monday, February 7, 2011

a new thing to fit into life

As many of you know I was ill this past Thanksgiving and have not been given a diagnosis...until now! The whole thing is a bit complicated but the important part is that I am now avoiding gluten. When the call came on Friday I couldn't have been happier to finally get a diagnosis. Over the weekend my super planner mindset kicked in and I realized it would take some adjustment.

The doctor has said that even though blood test for Celiac disease came back negative he is almost positive that's what it is. Apparently it is not unheard of for someone to have Celiac but a negative blood test. I will be going gluten free for about a month (suggestions from those more experienced than I always welcome) and then we'll see how symptoms have changed.

We are hoping my symptoms disappear because then we for sure know what is going on. In the meantime look forward to my gluten free recipes that will be posted.

No menu planning for this week because of crazy busy schedules but still look forward to delicious dinner suggestions.

Thank you all for your support!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Turkey Spinach Roll

There are recipes that I have printed out and saved but for some reason have no memory of whether it was liked, needed to be tweeked, horrible, or just ok. I came across a recipe called Turkey- Spinach roll that I vaguely remember making over a year ago, but for the life of me the results are more than vague. So being the ground turkey and spinach loving household that we are, I figured it was definitely worth a try. The results were so yummy. I used a monteray jack cheese because that's what we had. I will probably use egg whites next time (guessing about 3 eggs worth), reduce the bread crumbs to 3/4 cups, and add chopped mushrooms. Other than that, here's the recipe and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Prep Time: 25 Min
Cook Time: 50 Min
Ready In: 1 Hr 15 Min

6 servings

1 cup meatless spaghetti sauce, divided
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup soft whole wheat bread crumbs
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 pound lean ground turkey
3 cups of fresh spinach -I put in microwave for about 30 seconds to wilt it

4-5 slices or 2 cups of preferred

1.In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce, eggs, bread crumbs, garlic, basil, oregano and mustard. Crumble turkey over mixture and mix well.

2.On a sheet of waxed paper, pat turkey mixture into a 12-in. x 8-in. rectangle. Sprinkle with spinach and cheese. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a short side and peeling waxed paper away while rolling. Seal seam and ends. Place seam side down in a baking pan coated with nonstick cooking spray. Coat roll with a thin layer of tomato sauce.

3.Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 50-60 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees F. Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing. Heat remaining spaghetti sauce; serve over turkey.

Let me know if you make any modifications that you really like!